A study of 1,000 consumers conducted by market research firm Kearney on March 6 as the 50th anniversary Earth Day approached indicated that the COVID-19 pandemic has not made consumers forget about the environment.
In the survey, 48% of respondents said the pandemic had made them more concerned about the environment, while 55% of respondents said that, as a result of their coronavirus-related experiences, they were more likely to purchase environmentally friendly products.
Other results of the survey include:
- 78% of respondents said they believe companies could be doing more to help them make decisions that improve environmental outcomes.
- 65% of respondents said they expect companies to clearly explain environmental benefits on product labels or websites.
- 11% more consumers reported shifting their purchases of core products based on environmental claims as compared with 2019.
- 49% of respondents reported price as their most frequent barrier to selecting environmentally friendly products versus 52.9% in 2019.
- 17.6% of respondents reported availability in local stores as their most frequent barrier to selecting environmentally friendly products versus 22% in 2019.
- The biggest behavioral shifts planned by consumers included declining to accept plastic utensils with food orders, an 85% increase, and buying in bulk, a 164% increase.
In the future, 59% of respondents said they are very likely to bring reusable shopping bags to stores and 57% are very likely to carry reusable mugs or bottles.
“This year we see consumers expressing a more direct link between their health and the health of the planet,” said Corey Chafin, a principal in Kearney’s Consumer practice. “This tells us consumers’ pro-environmental sentiments are more than idealistic assertions. When it comes to the environment, consumers mean business.”